How Does This Figure in Our Strategic Plans?

Our institution is basically a California school (~82% UG, ~83% G). Four other states send us a over 9 undergrads but all the rest are single digits. By contrast Berkeley and UCLA have over 20% out of state.

On the one hand, that suggests that we are more of a California state school (or less of a national school) than are some state institutions. On the other hand, it’s good for our bottom line if California students’ places at UCs are taken by out of state students.

But now that will change.

According to the UC Newsroom: “The University of California will significantly boost enrollment of California freshman and transfer students next year.

The UC Board of Regents today (Nov. 19) approved a budget plan to enroll an additional 10,000 California undergraduates over the next three years, including 5,000 freshman and transfer students in 2016-17. 

Under the plan, all nine UC campuses that educate undergraduates will enroll more California students.

Insofar as our business model includes picking up qualified students who do not get into Berkeley but want to study in the Bay Area, this good news for California’s students might be disconcerting news for us.  Five thousand students over 10 campuses might mean only 500 at UCB and only half of them women. But say 1 in 20 of them would have considered Mills: that’s maybe a quarter million in net revenue.

There might be a glimmer of a bright side: the plan also includes adding up to 600 more graduate students to the system – if we can be a producer of same, options for our alumnae increase. It’s a safe guess this won’t compete with our graduate programs since most of ours are probably not in the high undergraduate demand column.

The absence of things like this (that is, external policy changes that can have outsized impact on what we are doing – the “free” community college initiative, for example) on our radar screen suggest (confirm) a dangerously parochial perspective and do not bode well for future success.

Decreasing Teaching (Course) Load at Swarthmore College

Note: This makes for an interesting pairing with the previous post. It does not take too flexible a mind to think of expanding admin ranks as effectively reducing the work load in those precincts.  General pattern is clear: when duties expand, in some areas workforce expands, in others workload.

Several years ago faculty and administrators at Swarthmore College started talking about reducing faculty teaching load from 5 to 4 courses per year. The college is presently in the midst of a multi-year transition to a 4 course load. Some initial discussions are captured in their 2009 Middle States Reaccreditation Self-Study (which also mentions a “Teaching Load and Faculty Development at Peer Institutions” document) and in their 2011 Strategic Plan.

A 2012 article from Swarthmore student newspaper contains an excellent summary of the motivations behind as well as analysis of the implications such a switch. Among the phrases that might grab your attention:
“One of the consistent things we heard [in Strategic Planning sessions] was that people felt a need for time in order to do what they considered to be the professional minimum… Not only are people doing more work in order to deliver excellent instruction, but some of them are plausibly close to the line where they can’t do that. If we’re so close to the edge, then that’s something to take seriously.” 
​”most of us are scrambling” ​“running on fumes​” “long-term sustainability of the teacher-scholar​” “creep of time commitments” ​“acceleration of change and an expansion of how we learn​”“subtle, fundamental, and inevitable shift in professors’ job descriptions” “intensification of professor responsibilities”

    Students also penned articles suggesting the plan was not in their interest
    The plan was, apparently, eventually put into place, though not with immediate effect.  Here’s a summary from another student newspaper:

    Continue Reading at The Phoenix

    Props to Siobhan Reilly for calling this to my attention.